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Crow Wing County Board: Lueck talks regional mental health treatment

Rep. Dale Lueck is more accustomed to seeing the inside of the Capitol building in St. Paul than the third-floor chambers of the Crow Wing County Historic Courthouse in Brainerd.

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Dale Lueck of the Minnesota House of Representives talks about regional mental health treatment centers at the Crow Wing County Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, June 12. Frank Lee / Brainerd Dispatch

Rep. Dale Lueck is more accustomed to seeing the inside of the Capitol building in St. Paul than the third-floor chambers of the Crow Wing County Historic Courthouse in Brainerd.

But the Aitkin Republican answered questions from the county board of commissioners at its meeting Tuesday, June 12.

“One of the things that we included in the bonding bill is … seed money for some regional mental health treatment centers,” Lueck said, noting the “pressing need” for them.

The bonding bill includes $30 million for behavioral health crisis centers, including $1.9 million designated for a Scott County crisis stabilization facility.

“It is important to kind of understand there is about $5 million per center, and they are looking at six across the state of Minnesota. The way that’s set up though is it’s on a competitive basis,” Lueck said.

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“That’s one thing I wanted to say. We came back with a piece of the pie, but it’s only a piece, so there’s going to be some immense competition throughout the state of Minnesota for those six regional centers, but I’m here to tell you I’m ready to give you a hand in any way we can.”

Minnesota closed all but two of its large mental health hospitals by 2008. Work started on community-based services in 1976, but in 1987, the Legislature put the responsibility for developing them on the Minnesota Department of Human Services and the counties.

“I know that the leadership, here, really gets that, and you have already been looking at solutions,” Lueck said.

“(The centers) are not the end all, be all, but it’s one huge piece that we know we need to put back in the communities what we’ve lost over the last two decades as far as dealing with mental health issues.”

The state did not build enough community-based hospitals and chose to underfund the ones it did build, according to some county commissioners.

“The money that you’ve allocated is for the actual bricks and mortar. Are you going to allocate money to staff it?” Commissioner Rosemary Franzen asked Lueck.

Lueck replied, “Nope. It’s a bonding bill -- understand bonding is bricks and mortar. It’s not operations, it’s not staffing. It’s step one. … In fact, it’s absolutely not allowed to do operations or staffing with state capital investment money.”

Franzen then asked Lueck if he and his colleagues would return to Capitol to find the money -- not in the bonding bill -- to staff the centers.

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“You can have a building and that doesn’t help unless it’s staffed,” Franzen said.

Lueck said, “I understand, and that’s a script to be written yet. … We are looking to the regions to come up with the best way to do this. Now, we can jam it down from the (Minnesota) Department of Health. My perspective is that it doesn’t always turn out to work very doggone well.”

In other business, the county board:

Approved the hiring of Jacob Revering, part-time sheriff’s office deputy, and Erik Huseby, highway department intern.

Approved the departure of Morgan Larson, administrative services intern, Ann Rivas, community corrections supervisor, Billie Jo Mainerich, Extension senior technical/administrative specialist, and Jenn Mount, community services public health nurse.

Scheduled a public hearing for 9:15 a.m. July 24 to change the name of an unnamed body of water in Little Pine Township to Chickadee Creek.

Authorized entering an agreement for Minnesota Court Data Services for governmental agencies between the county administrator and the state of Minnesota, so private attorneys under county contract can access recorded and imaged files the court system maintains.

Supported the Minnesota lawful gambling applications for exempt permits for the Mission Township Firefighters Relief Association on July 21 and Sept. 22 at the Mission Township Park and at the Mission Township Fire Hall, respectively.

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Accepted donations in the amount of $100 from Edgewood Senior Living and a $1,400 donation from various donors to drug court.

Approved the renewal of the malt liquor license application by Paul Bunyan Land doing business as Old Time Saloon.

Approved the renewal of the on-sale and Sunday liquor license applications by Hassies in Oak Lawn Township and Norway Ridge Supper Club in Ideal Township.

Authorized entering into an agreement between the county and the state of Minnesota for participation in the work release program for state offenders, effective July 1 through June 30, 2019. The state will pay $55 per day per offender participating in the work release program.

Authorized withdrawal of a tract described as lot 32, block 5 of Port Mille Lacs Junction from the 2018 final tax-forfeited land sale list and putting it back on the available over-the-counter list at the previously established starting bid price of $1,330.

Authorized withdrawal of a tract described as lots 17 and the south half of Lot 18, Block 1 of Kirkwood from the available tax-forfeited land sale list and authorized the direct sale of said tax forfeit property to the Crow Wing County Housing and Residential Authority.

Approved re-classification of tax-forfeited property described as outlot A of Rustic Point as non-conservation status and authorized the direct sale of the property to an adjoining landowner for $20,000.

Approved classifying tax-forfeited property described as lot 15, block 10 of the Lake Park Division of Crosby as non-conservation and authorized the land services department to set the minimum sale price at $200 and award the sale to the highest bidder.

Approved a resolution requesting the erection of appropriate signs designating a reasonable and safe speed limit on County Highway 30.

Authorized entering into a maintenance agreement between the county and the city of Crosslake establishing the rights and responsibilities for beautification projects, which may involve county highways and roads, effective June 1, 2018 through Dec. 1, 2020.

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Dale Lueck

I cover the community of Wadena, Minn., and write articles for the Wadena Pioneer Journal weekly newspaper owned by Forum Communications Co.
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